17 College Interview Questions and How to Answer Them (Part 1 of 3)

Every admission season, there are two things that make high school graduates freak out – the dreaded rejection letter and a college interview call. While the former makes you feel dejected, the latter makes your palms sweat with nervous anxiety.

So what is it about college interviews that makes students squirm with nervousness? The answer is simple – FEAR. It is the fear of unknown and the fear of failure that sends a shiver down the spine of each and every high schooler. In the admission process, college interviews are considered to be the last hurdle between you and your dream college. While it feels great to have come so far beating hundreds and thousands of applicants, the fear of failing at the last frontier is what makes college interviews a nervous affair for many students. And the factor of uncertainty around the interview process doesn’t help in calming the nerves either.

There is a misconception that a college interview is like an interrogation session that is used as a weapon to reject candidates. In fact, it is the other way around as college interviews are conducted just to know about the candidate in person. Colleges want to like you and they want you to succeed, but fear plays havoc in young students’ minds and turns them into nervous wrecks.

I want to address this fear of failure and unknown by discussing the most commonly asked questions in college interviews. Once you know what you are about to face in the interview, these fears diminish considerably. Let’s check out 17 common interview questions that you may be asked (most probably) in an interview:

Question 1: Tell me something about yourself

This has to be one of the most basic questions often used as an icebreaker of sorts as it allows the student to introduce himself or herself to the interviewer, with an intent to ease the student into a productive conversation with the interviewer.  Rather than giving a dry introduction, try to strike conversation by mentioning interesting things about yourself. Try not to state obvious information that is already present in the application. You need to get the interviewer interested to know more about you.

Question 2:  What about you is unique?

It may sound like a simple question but it is surprising how so many students struggle to answer it. Unique doesn’t mean you have to grow two horns and live in outer space. What the interviewer really wants to know is the qualities that make you who you are. If you are awesome at beatboxing or you create artwork with waste material or you are just unapologetically honest, then these are a few qualities that make you unique. Spend time trying to know yourself better as it will help you find out things that make you unique.

Question 3: What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Again, this is a very common question in interviews. But it still manages to stun us as none of us actually look at ourselves in introspective mode. Put yourself under the microscope and get to know what are your passions, dreams, characteristics, principles, strengths and weaknesses. While answering the interviewer, tell them about weak moments of your life and how you overcame them using your strengths. But, most importantly, be honest with your answer and don’t try to be someone who you are not.   

Question 4: What has been your proudest achievement so far?

This is a personal question that only you could answer. Your proudest achievement doesn’t have to be something too big or fancy. It can be something as small as winning a class debate in middle school or providing food to an impoverished child. And, don’t lie about your achievements as it will sound fake and hollow. Nothing makes a great impact like honesty.

Question 5: How have you been a leader or displayed leadership qualities?

You don’t have to be school’s football captain or the valedictorian of your batch to showcase your leadership skills. Leadership is about taking ownership in doing things, no matter how small they are. A leader is a proactive person who guides the team to get the job done. There are instances in everyone’s life where we have unknowingly showcased leadership qualities. All you need to do is look at your past with new perspective.


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